Welcome to Part 2 in a four-part series looking back at songs hitting significant milestones this year. This week, we're looking at 40 tracks hitting the big 4-0 in 2016. Here are some of the biggest hits released in 1976 (happy 200th, America!), the sounds that take you right back to that big year.
(You can find Part 1, 50 songs turning 50 in 2016, here.)
1. "Disco Lady," Johnnie Taylor
Johnnie Taylor didn't just point out how disco you were. He also was kind enough to give directions.
2. "Let Your Love Flow," Bellamy Brothers
Yes, the Bellamy Brothers were actually brothers, but they didn't write the country-tinged golden pop of "Let Your Love Flow." It was penned by Larry Williams, a former roadie for Neil Diamond. Something must have rubbed off on him.
3. "Welcome Back," John Sebastian
"Welcome Back" didn't get its name from the TV show it was theme song for. It was the other way around. The show's original title was just "Kotter" ... until this song was written. It hit No. 1 for one week, a few months after "Welcome Back, Kotter" premiered.
4. "Boogie Fever," the Sylvers
I think there's now a cream for Boogie Fever.
5. "Silly Love Songs," Wings
Hey, everyone. If you're going to criticize Paul McCartney for his lyrical content, he's going to write a song about his own "silly" songs. That's just how it goes. Lesson. Learned. This was No. 1 for a solid month.
6. "Afternoon Delight," Starland Vocal Band
Yes, it's a weird '70s euphemism for sex, but the title also came from the happy hour menu at a Georgetown restaurant (how is that place not on the historic registry?). BTW: Starland Vocal Band won the best new artist award at the 19th annual Grammys, because sure.
7. "Kiss and Say Goodbye," the Manhattans
In my personal top 10 of Songs Featuring a Deep Bass Spoken-Word Section.
8. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," Elton John and Kiki Dee
In 1977, when John performed this song on "The Muppet Show," his duet partner wasn't Kiki Dee. It was Miss Piggy.
9. "You Should Be Dancing," the Bee Gees
The Bee Gees' first step into the disco waters. This should be taught in high school history classes.
10. "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty," KC and the Sunshine Band
Four "shakes" were totally necessary in this song's title. That's just what 1976 was like.
11. "Play That Funky Music," Wild Cherry
Just when you thought this lineup couldn't get more disco.
12. "A Fifth of Beethoven," Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band
I spoke too soon.
13. "Disco Duck," Rick Dees
I really spoke too soon.
14. "If You Leave Me Now," Chicago
BRB, trying to find someone to dance to this with at prom.
15. "Rock'n Me," Steve Miller Band
Someone had to be responsible for bringing the rock to the 1976 party. Steve Miller is set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.
16. "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)," Rod Stewart
If the lyrics weren't awkward enough, there's the French spoken-word section by Stewart's girlfriend at the time, actress Britt Ekland. Enough weirdness for you? Thought so.
17. "Love Is Alive," Gary Wright
Wright's follow-up single to "Dream Weaver." Both tracks hit No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart, but "Love Is Alive" actually charted longer than the now more well-known "Dream Weaver."
18. "More, More, More," Andrea True Connection
Perhaps not so surprisingly, Andrea True was a porn star throughout the 1970s — and when "More, More, More peaked at No. 4.
19. "Rhiannon," Fleetwood Mac
Yes, it's true: "Rhiannon" is based on a story of a Welsh witch. Stevie Nicks wrote the song a few years before joining the band, reportedly inspired by the story she discovered in a novel she bought at an airport. Witchy!
20. "Sara Smile," Hall and Oates
Hall and Oates' first top-10 hit (aww) was written about Hall's then-girlfriend, Sara Allen.
21. "Love Hangover," Diana Ross
Co-writer Pamela Sawyer also co-wrote another "love" song for Ross, though one with a slightly different subject matter: "Love Child," which Ross and the Supremes released in 1968.
22. "Turn the Beat Around," Vicki Sue Robinson
Memorably covered by both Laura Branigan and Gloria Estefan, "Turn the Beat Around," written by brothers Gerald and Peter Jackson of the band Touch of Class, hit No. 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart — but was No. 1 for a month on the disco charts.
23. "The Boys Are Back in Town," Thin Lizzy
We need more Irish hard rock in 2016. Is that still a thing?
24. "Let Her In," John Travolta
Remember when John Travolta recorded albums and released hit singles (like this one, that actually went to No. 10)? No? Mad at me for reminding you? Yeah? Sorry.
25. "You're My Best Friend," Queen
A bit of a post-"Let Her In" palate cleanser for you. John Deacon, Queen's bass player, wrote this for his wife.
26. "Money Honey," Bay City Rollers
The band's follow-up to "Saturday Night" was the lead single from its 1976 album, "Rock n' Roll Love Letter," which was only released in North America.
27. "Lowdown," Boz Scaggs
One of Scaggs' breakthrough tracks, "Lowdown" was co-written by Scaggs and David Paich, best known for his time with the band Toto.
28. "Junk Food Junkie," Larry Groce
Making fun of crazy health-food trends — always relevant!
29. "Right Back Where We Started From," Maxine Nightingale
This was Nightingale's biggest hit (it was even bigger in the U.S. than in her native U.K.). You may recognize it from the 1977 hockey flick "Slap Shot."
30. "Lonely Night (Angel Face)," Captain & Tennille
People of 1976: Did you actually call others "Angel Face"?
31. "Fool to Cry," the Rolling Stones
The only good thing to come from the Stones' "Black and Blue" album.
32. "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel," Tavares
Tavares, and only Tavares, can make this pickup line work.
33. "A Little Bit More," Dr. Hook
The most disturbing song of all time.
34. "Fernando," ABBA
Reportedly, the original title was "Tango," which I don't quite understand. Was it about the dance or maybe about dance partners who fall in love? Yes, I've created a backstory for the original version of "Fernando."
35. "Dancing Queen," ABBA
I mean, we had to include this one, too. To be fair, ABBA could take up a good chunk of this list. Also released by the group in 1976: "Rock Me", "Money, Money, Money" and "That's Me."
36. "Anarchy in the U.K.," Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols really held back for its first single.
37. "Blinded by the Light," Manfred Mann's Earth Band
The song's writer, Bruce Springsteen, released his own version in 1973 (it was his first single), but Manfred Mann's version eventually hit. No. 1. And, for the record, Manfred Mann's slightly reworked lyric is "revved up like a DEUCE."
38. "Crazy on You," Heart
Another remarkable debut single, this time from Ann and Nancy Wilson. Would anyone today dare to combine acoustic with hard rock?
39. "I Wish," Stevie Wonder
A childhood saga as only Wonder could produce. Ugh, and yes, it was eventually sampled (read: butchered) by Will Smith for his song "Wild Wild West."
40. "Livin' for the Weekend," the O'Jays
We still are.